Friday, August 27, 2010

First Week in Cahuasqui

This is where I am going to be living for the next two years of my life.

I have now been at my site for one week and things have been, well, slow. Schools are on vacation so I can not meet with the high school students and trying to integrate into a community with no structure is harder than I imagined. However, that is not to say that I have not been trying nor that I have not been integrating and found some success.

With little structure I make it a point each day in the morning, afternoon and night to pasear (to walk around aimlessly). While this usually results in countless salutation and simply getting my face out into the community, it has also lead me to some great experiences. For instance, the other day I was walking around down by the farms and a man called me over. "A donde vas?", he asked. Where are you going? When I told him I had no idea, he laughed and then called over his younger sister who brought me 10 tomatoes. She then asked what I was doing today and when again I said I had no idea, they invited me to pick and collect tomatoes with them on their farm. With little else to do and a desire to integrate into this agrcultural community, I said I would love to. We collected tomatoes until lunch when I was invited to go back to their house to eat. I ate rooster meat from the campo, which was delicious and then we all headed back to collect more tomatoes until 4pm. I think they tought my tomoatoe collecting skills (or free labor) was so good that they invited my back the next time the collect!

Here is one more story that I find to be a funny cultural experience here in Ecuador. I went to play soccer on wednesday with some of the kids in the community, but the field was being used by the All-Mother Cahuasqui team practicing before their big game on Friday. They play against other mothers from surrounding pueblos. I was lucky enough to be able to play with them and it was a blast. However, about 45 minuutes into the game I was passed the ball from our goalie and then looked around for my team. Teams were made of 6 played each and I could not find any our offensive players. That was until I looked at the sideline and saw both of our offenders breast-feeding their kids on the sideline. Oh Ecuador....

Other than that I have been eating a lot of carbs and walking around aimlessly. However, I hope these walks will create new and interesting stories I can soon share with you all. I hope all is going well in the US of A.

Peace and Love
Central Plaze and church in Cahuasqui. A rooster and me. This here rooster is going to be in a cock fight this sunday. Wish `em luck!!


  1. Sounds like walking around is a great idea. Ann my daughter who did work for the Peace Corps in Morocco talked of enormous amounts of empty time. She read Ulysses. But ultimately met and joined families, built a library, taught, took daughters to meet working women, and enjoyed the other volunteers. Keep walking and I am thinking of you and the tomatoes. A very special experience.


  2. Maybe if the rooster loses the fight, you can make a rooster and tomato stew! Trust me, in the third world, one is either working hard at back-breaking labor, or doing nothing at all. As one famous anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, wrote: fieldwork involves a lot of "deep hanging out."


  3. Mom, you're so deep on your comments. Do you have a bibliography to go along with it? Ben, this looks great man. Sounds like you'll be learning a lot, growing, and doing a lot of great work. Keep posting!


  4. Even though this is not your latest entry, I just read it and I can identify with it quite a lot at this point. My days have been structureless as I scour the city of Belo Horizonte for work as an English teacher. My walks, however, usually end in me asking for directions, drinking coffee or watching people get down at DJed James Brown dance parties near pra├ža sete. Keep on keeping on my brother from another!